A R Rahman turns 52 today, and the celebration continues. The Isai Puyal has composed music for a massive number of Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, English and even a Persian film! However, his Tamil hits of the 90s remain the best for us who grew up with it.
Here are Rahman’s forgotten hits from the early 1990s, songs that you might not hear anymore but remain just as brilliant as the first time heard.
Rukumani Rukumani – Roja
Roja was the first movie that Rahman ever composed for, and it won him a National Award. Chinna Chinna Aasai and Kaadhal Rojave may be the most famous songs of the film, but we really enjoyed Tamizha Tamizha and this tune.
July Maatham – Puthiya Mugam
This tune sees Rahman experiment with different kinds of music and infuse it into Tamil songs, a feat that until then, had never been done. It certainly paid off!
Usilampatti Penkutti – Gentleman
This Arjun starrer was an amazing heist movie that Rahman’s music made even better. Move over, Chikku Bukku Rayile and En Veetu Thottathil!
Maanooththu Manthaiyile – Kizhakku Cheemayile
This movie made its name for being an absolute tearjerker, and Rahman’s Aathangara Marame. This village tune is pretty good too, thanks to S P Bala’s vocals!
Pennalla Pennalla Oodha Poo – Uzhavan
Rahman has a way of making rural tunes appeal to urban crowds, Pennalla Penalla is one tune on that long list. Also, who knew that Prabhu starred opposite Rambha in this film?!
Chitthirai Nilavu – Vandicholai Chinraasu
This lilting tune is one of those songs that make the listener WANT to fall in love again. Rahman’s magic or Jayachandran’s vocals? Both!
Kulicha Kuthalam – Duet
Arguably one of Rahman’s best work, the entire Duet soundtrack is a treat for the audiophile. Kulicha Kuthalam is one that should not be skipped. S P Bala at his best!
Madrasai Suthi – May Maadham
Another Rahmanic masterpiece, we had a touch time choosing a song from this film. Minnale was brilliant, obviously, but which was more underrated, Palakkatu Machan or this one?
Nee Kattum Selai – Puthiya Mannargal
This one of a kind tune is classic Rahman of the 90s. The best folk song in a while, for sure!
Erani Kuradhani – Kaadhalan
Kaadhalan is another album that’s potentially Rahman’s greatest work from the 90s. It was then translated into Telugu and Hindi, and those became even bigger hits, that the Tamil version is usually forgotten. We need the Tamil version of this album on Spotify!
Of course, this list covers only the Rahman movies up to 1994, and no list in the world can ever encompass his musical brilliance. What are some of your favourite 90s tunes?